12/09/2011 04:41 BST | Updated 11/11/2011 05:12 GMT

Andy Whitfield, Star Of 'Spartacus: Blood And Sand', Dies Aged 39

PRESS ASSOCIATION -- Andy Whitfield, the Welsh-born 39-year-old star of the cable series Spartacus: Blood and Sand, has died.

Manager Sam Maydew said Whitfield died of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in Sydney, Australia.

Whitfield's wife Vashti in a statement called her husband a "beautiful young warrior" who died on a "sunny Sydney morning" in the "arms of his loving wife".

Whitfield, who was born in Amlwch, Anglesey and lived in Australia, was a virtual unknown when he was cast as the title hero in Spartacus, a hit original series for the Starz network that made waves with its graphic violence and sexuality.

Whitfield was preparing for the second season when he was diagnosed 18 months ago.

In January the network announced that another Australian actor, Liam McIntyre, would take over the role.